“If you love me, obey my commandments.” John 14:15
Maybe, like me, you think … I love Jesus, I want to obey Him.
The other day a couple of questions came to mind that I’d never thought about before…
What are Jesus’ commandments?
Are they different from the original 10 Commandments in the Old Testament?
It’s funny. I memorized John 14:15 years ago and I really have wanted to obey Jesus but I’ve never specifically thought about His commands.
The Gospels are full of Jesus’ instructions and counsel for the way His followers should live but I wondered how many of them would qualify as actual commands.
And I found 10 verses that began with words like, “you must” or “I tell you the truth” … verses I believe are Jesus’ Commandments.
Jesus’ Commandments and Why You Need to Know Them
♥ Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. John 13:34
Jesus kind of love is more than just warm feelings. Loving like Jesus is an attitude that is demonstrated through actions.
Life Application Bible Notes say: loving like Jesus is helping when it’s not convenient, giving when it hurts and putting the welfare of others ahead of our own.
♥ “Repent of your sins and turn to God” Matthew 4:17
Repentance is defined as … turning from sin and dedicating yourself to the amendment of your life. (Miriam Webster Dictionary)
LAB Notes says that”becoming a follower of Jesus means turning away from our self-centeredness and “self” control and turning our life over to Christ Jesus’ direction and control.
♥ “You must take up your cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
I’ll admit this one has been especially hard for me. I didn’t want any part of cross-carrying … so much so that I was afraid to completely surrender and follow.
Praise God, I’ve finally learned to believe … following Jesus trusts that God knows what’s best and that whatever He allows He will give me the strength and courage to endure.
♥ “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else” and “Don’t worry” Matthew 6:33–34
When you and I seek God’s Kingdom above all else, we put Him first … we make knowing Him and knowing His will our greatest priority.
For me, worry happens when I take my focus off God and focus on my “what if” circumstances. When I stop seeking Him first. But staying focused on God is the antidote to worry! I love that!
♥ “Become like little children.” Matthew 18:3
When the disciples asked Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus answered, “Anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Being child-like involves being trusting, humble, and sincere.
Little children are comfortable in their own skin. They’re willing to be honest, knowingly dependent, and free of pretense. I want that!
♥ “Keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17
Jesus’ Commandments do not replace or change God’s Commands given on Mt. Sinai.
In fact, He summed up the original 10 Commandments in the next two commands…
♥ “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Mark 12:30
When you and I love God completely, we acknowledge Him for who He is … holy—set apart. Not one of many gods but THE I AM: Creator, Redeemer, Comforter, Father, and Friend. The One who defines Himself as “love.”
All of me loving all of Him!
♥ “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39
Dallas Willard defines love as, “being devoted to the good or well-being” of another.
I like that. Although I often fail at emotionally nurturing myself, I do work at taking care of myself – my “good and well-being.” I’m guessing you take care of yourself, too.
That defines loving our neighbor … doing good and taking care of each other. Looking out for the other person’s well-being. Can you imagine if everyone loved like that?! Wow!
♥ “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive.” Luke 6:36–38
Other translations say, “You must be merciful,” and others, “You must be kind.”
Compassion, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness should set us apart as followers of Jesus. Imagine what could happen if we decided to simply love each other and let God take care of the rest.
Have you noticed that when you smile at random strangers, they generally smile back? Kindness breeds kindness. Compassion leads to more compassion. Forgiveness … etc.
Not always, that’s true! But maybe we could transform our relationships if we determined to love intentionally.
♥ “Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19
And that’s the bottom line …
When people see what you and I have in Jesus, they should want what we have.
Too often Christians are perceived as judgmental … like they’re trying to guilt people into the Kingdom.
Who wants that?
Honestly, that wasn’t God’s plan for His people. Even when He gave the original commands to the wilderness wanderers, His desire was that His people would look different … so wonderfully different, that the people in the surrounding nations would want to know Him too.
Jesus lived His Commandments! He demonstrated His law of love!
If you’re squirming a little right now, I get it. I know I fall far short obeying His commands.
Jesus’ commandments go beyond “do this and don’t do that.” His commands go to the attitudes of our hearts and doing everything from a heart of love is hard for sinful people.
It’s really hard.
Thankfully, God offers us the help we need.
“I will ask My Father and He will give you another Helper. He will be with you forever.” John 14:16 (NLV)
God sent the Holy Spirit to fill us with so much of His love that it can’t help but pour out of us onto and into others.
And we not only have the Holy Spirit…
We have Jesus, Himself, who died and rose again that we might be covered with His grace and mercy—His perfect forgiveness for the times we fall short.
That’s comforting, isn’t it?
All you and I need to do is set our hearts and minds on loving God and loving others.
God does the rest … giving us everything we need. He fills us with His love. He shows us where He wants to use us and He equips us to share His love with others.
When I look at the list above and think about how far I fall short, it helps to know that God is always faithful to help His children to do His will His way.
We can rest knowing that when we love God and seek Him first, He will pour so much of His love into us that with His Spirit’s help, following Jesus’ commandments will become our greatest desire and best blessed part of our lives.
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